At a young age, Colombian singer-songwriter Diana Burco longed for a stronger musical connection to her homeland. She found it in the accordion. In Colombia, the instrument grounds many of the country’s gorgeous traditions—African, Latin, and indigenous—and plays a crucial part in the music of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. It became a portal for Burco, opening up both Colombia’s roots and the world’s sounds to her own, highly original musical imagination. There was just one challenge: There were few women players. “The accordion gave me something that I had missed,” she recalls. “I wanted to connect with the instrument to connect with my country. It was really deep for me. But I didn’t find any girls playing accordion. It was weird for me. It was a shock, no girls!” Burco went ahead and learned accordion anyway, finding and studying with several women players and becoming the first woman nominated for a Latin GRAMMY in the traditional cumbia/vallenato category. Mastering instrumental and song traditions despite skepticism from male players, she then pursued a conservatory education, learning the orchestration skills that enliven her work.